Monday, February 13, 2012

Slideshow About Leukemia for the Elementary Kids

Just a few weeks after we moved to our current house in August of 2001,  we sent Spencer off to the new elementary school to start 1st grade.  Although Cami was a preschooler and Emma was barely a year old,  I still remember being so excited to be a real room mom for the first time.  I made treats, I planned class parties, I helped the teacher, and I thought it was fun.  In the ensuing decade, I'm pretty sure I've been a room mom to at least one of my kids' classes every single year.   With the sheer number of our kids that have attended there and the fact that I'm in the school so frequently, means that the staff and the teachers at the school know our family pretty well. 

The morning after Spencer's diagnosis, I let Emma's, Adam's, and Ellie's teachers know about it, so that they could watch out for them during the day.    But because the diagnosis was not 100% official until the bone marrow biopsy was performed the following afternoon, I sent the kids off to school that morning and instructed them not to talk about it yet.  We just didn't want things getting spread around if there was even a sliver of a chance that it might not officially be leukemia.   

As soon as the biopsy confirmed the diagnosis, we knew it wouldn't/shouldn't be a secret anymore.  We had already called our families.  Then it was announced at youth group on Wednesday night, which meant everyone at church knew very quickly.  Spencer then posted it on Facebook, which meant all his school friends knew too.  Taking Spencer's lead, Glen and I posted it on Facebook too, so all of our friends knew then as well.  It seemed like in 24 hours time, the whole entire world knew about it. 

  Then a few weeks later, Emma's teacher emailed me about a little surprise a friend was planning for Spencer.  It involved having the kids in  Emma's, Adam's, and Ellie's classes at school combining together to make him something.  Although it was supposed to have been a surprise, they had decided to ask me about it, because she was concerned that no one at school knew about Spencer's leukemia and that Emma hadn't even mentioned it to her friends yet.  It was a little weird to me that the people at the school,  a place that had played such a big part of our lives over the years, still didn't know what was going on, but since Spencer hadn't been a student there for about 5 years it kind of made sense.  On the other hand, it seemed very strange to me that Emma never mentioned such a big part of her life to her friends. 

After talking to Emma about it, I realized that her and Adam thought that because we'd sent them off to school that very first morning and told them not to talk about it, that they truly believed that all this was meant to be a secret.   It seemed obvious to me that once the word spread (a mere 1/2 day after we told them not to share it) that they would automatically know that it was no longer a secret. That was not the case though, because both of them were whole-heartedly convinced that school was the one place they couldn't talk about it. 

After feeling rather sad about the misunderstanding and that they were keeping all this upheaval in their lives tucked inside them, I asked them if they were interested in letting their friends know.  They both agreed, so it was that this slideshow was made.  I made it as a way for them to share info about Spencer's leukemia with their school classes.   It contains basic facts about leukemia and presents it in a way that hopefully will not only convey the seriousness of a leukemia diagnosis without scaring them, but also let them know that someone with a serious disease is still the same old person underneath. 

It was originally a powerpoint presentation, but due to my ineptitude it doesn't contain any sound nor did it convert very nicely to slideshow format.  Here's a glimpse anyway:   


Spencer went to church today.  He wore a mask and slipped in right as sacrament meeting started and bolted as soon as it was over.   I don't even think too many people noticed him there, but I loved sitting there all together as a family for the first time in over a month!

Spencer heads back to the hospital on Tuesday to begin his second round of chemo.  He'll be readmitted, then get his bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap that afternoon.  We'll let you know his new room number as soon as we find out. 


"Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows. "
~Thomas S. Monson


Steve-Rosanna said...

Well done Lara. Simple and straight to point for kids. Another one of your many talents!

annalisa said...

I like the slideshow! It's simple and informative.

I am glad that you all got to be at church together again.

Remember you all are loved and there are many prayers for you!

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